JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman running back Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla), kicker Curt Duncan (Morristown, Tenn.) and offensive lineman Alex Taylor (Bristol, Tenn.) have all been named to the USA Football Network's preseason All-American teams. Baker and Duncan earned first team honors, Taylor made the second team.
Carson-Newman is the only team in the SAC to place more than two players on the first and second teams.
Duncan and Baker were both selections to the Beyond Sports Network preseason All-America teams.
Duncan was a BSN and CoSIDA Academic All-American last year. A first team all-SAC and all-region selection and four-time SAC player of the Week in 2012, Duncan was tops for Carson-Newman in scoring, leading the team with 102 points. That tally set a record for the most points scored in a season by a kicker in school history.
Duncan broke a 14-year-old record set in 1998 by Ryan Fleming, who scored 92 points in that season. He connected on 14 of his 15 field goals and all 60 of his extra points. The 54-yard field goal he blasted against Tusculum (11/3) as time expired in the first half was the longest in school history.
He also became the first C-N kicker to make four field goals in a game for the first time since 1984 – he accomplished that feat twice in 2012, against Lenoir-Rhyne (9/15) and in the quarterfinals of the DII playoffs against Valdosta State (12/1). Duncan also set the single game scoring record for a kicker against L-R with 17 points (four field goals, five extra points).
Baker earned Don Hansen All-America honors at the end of 2012. A two-time SAC offensive player of the week. Baker's 1,468-yard rushing season marked the third best year for an Eagle on the ground in Carson-Newman history. Only Buck Wakefield (1,515 yards in 2009) and Kenneth Tyson (1,867 yards in 1987) rank in front of Baker's season.
Baker finished the year with 122 yards per game – tops in the SAC and 17th best nationally. Baker's 8.25 yards a carry were the best in the nation for anyone with more than 100 carries in 2012. He's also the first C-N back this century to rush for more than eight yards a carry with more than 100 carries in a season.
Baker finished the year with four straight games with more than 140 yards on the ground. The junior has 2,452 yards for his career – 1,704 away from Robert Thomas' (1988-1991) career record of 4,156.
Taylor is Carson-Newman's active leader in consecutive games started with 34. He's manned the right side of the line for his C-N career and has helped produce rushing offenses that have finished in the top five in the nation in yards per game in each year of his career. Last year, with Taylor's help, the Eagles led the nation with more than 378 yards per game rushing and 52 touchdowns.
Carson-Newman kicks off its season Sept. 5 against Wayne State. Tuesday at 11 a.m. the SAC's preseason all-conference teams will be unveiled.